Start 2013 out right by making resolutions that not only help you, but animals, too. Here are some suggestions:
• Set aside exercise and/or play time with your dog and cat each day. Even if you have a small dog or a fenced in yard, your dog needs to be walked at least once a day. Even if you can only squeeze in a 20-minute walk, it’s better than nothing! While cats don’t need the same level of exercise as dogs, enjoying regular play sessions with your cat will provide him with the physical exercise and mental stimulation he needs, as well as strengthen the bond you share. Try using a Cat Dancer with your cat for at least 10 minutes a day.
• Quit smoking. Now that you’re exercising with your pet, it’s time to quit smoking, too. Tobacco companies conduct painful invasive and skin corrosion tests on animals, so kicking this bad habit helps kick animal testing, too.
• Spruce up your yard. Bushes with edible berries not only look attractive but also provide a food source for wildlife. So you can fill your yard with both flora and fauna.
• Poison-proof your home. Pledge to make your home safe for your pet in 2013 by poison-proofing your house. The most common cause of companion animal poisoning is from rodent poisons and insecticides, but there are other common everyday foods and products that can cause harm to your pet such as raisins, chocolate, and alcohol. For more information on poison-proofing your home, check out a previous Pet Chat column.
• Clean out your closets. You may not think that cleaning your closets can help animals, but if you come across any items made of fur, you can make a difference in the lives of animals by getting rid of those items. When you wear clothing made of fur, you send the message that fashion is more important then the animals who were needlessly killed to make those furry clothes on your back.
• Clean out your bathroom. Aside from getting rid of any expired medication, you can also toss out products that were tested on animals and start 2013 out right by stocking your bathroom with cruelty-free products. For a listing of products that aren’t tested on animals, visit peta.org
• Read more books. If you are a pet owner, consider reading up on how to care for your pet since the best pet owner is an informed pet owner. The New Natural Cat by Anita Frazier and The Natural Dog: A Complete Guide for Caring Dog Lovers by Mary L. Brennan and Norma Eckroate are two of my favorites. Bookstores have entire sections on just pets, so there are many to choose from.
• Make out a will. Think about including a donation earmarked for your favorite animal charity in your will.
• Establish a plan for emergencies. Plan ahead to keep your animal companions safe in an emergency situation by filling a carrier with leashes, bowls, veterinary records, medicines, a photo of each animal, and a list of hotels that accept animal guests during natural disasters. For more information on preparing your animal for an emergency, check out a previous Pet Chat column.
• Volunteer some of your time. Animal shelters are typically thrilled to have dedicated volunteers to walk dogs, socialize cats, tidy up, and help with fundraisers and other events. For a list of animal shelters in the Santa Barbara area, visit animaladoptionsolutions.com
Here’s to a happy and healthy, animal-friendly New Year!
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